Change Makers: A Podcast from APH

Ensuring Success for Your Child

August 25, 2022 American Printing House Episode 59
Change Makers: A Podcast from APH
Ensuring Success for Your Child
Show Notes Transcript

On this episode of Change Makers, learn about the ways you can ensure success for your child. Back to school season is underway and now's the time people start to wonder what they can do to make sure their child has a great start. Hear about an upcoming Helen Keller symposium and get the latest news and information with JAWS and ZoomText with Partners with Paul.

On This Podcast (In Order of Appearance)

  • Jeff Fox, Narrator
  • Sara Brown, Host and APH Public Relations Manager
  • Olaya Landa-Vialard, APH ConnectCenter Director
  • Micheal Hudson, APH Museum Director
  • Paul Ferrara, APH Communications Accessibility Editor
  • Mike Wood, Vispero  Strategic Accounts Manager Education


Additional Links

Jack Fox:

Welcome to Change Makers, a podcast from APH . We're talking to people from around the world who are creating positive change in the lives of people who are blind or have low vision. Here's your host.

Sara Brown:

Hello, and welcome to Change Makers. I'm APH's Public Relations Manager, Sara Brown . And today we're talking about ways you can ensure success for your child. Back to school season is underway and now's the time people start to wonder what they can do to make sure their child has a great start. We'll also learn about an upcoming Helen Keller symposium and have a check-in with Partners with Paul. Up first, we have APH's ConnectCenter Director, Olaya Landa-Vialard here to give us some tips on what you can do to make sure your child has a great school season. Hello Olaya and welcome to Change Makers.

Olaya Landa-Vialard:

Oh, thank you so much, Sara. I'm always happy to be part of Change Makers. This is great.

Sara Brown:

Can you talk about some ways people can prepare their child for elementary, middle, and high school?

Olaya Landa-Vialard:

So, you know, when schools start getting ready to start, it's always a really good idea. Um, if you can to , um, find out where your child is gonna be , uh, where their classroom's gonna be , uh, who's gonna be their teacher, so that you can reach out to them and maybe even take your child to the school ahead of time so that they can kind of get acquainted with their new area. Um , maybe even talk to your Orientation and Mobility Specialist to orient your child to the layout of the school and their classroom before the first day of school. If , if they're especially, if this is like their first... Let's say they're in kindergarten or they're in, pre-K going to kindergarten. Um, you know, after being, after being out for the summer, they may have forgotten some of the layout of the school if they, if they've been there before. And if they haven't, this would be a really good introduction to the school and the layout so that they understand where the bathrooms are, where the cafeteria is, where the gym is, where their classroom is, where the main office is. So that if there's an emergency, they know where to go , um, to make a phone call or to notify someone , uh, in the school of , of anything that , that may be happening , um, that, that the leadership in the school needs to know about. So knowing where those places are, the library , um, and of course, you know , the playground that's very important in elementary school, the playground. So knowing where all those places are , um, the entrances and exits , um, is really important, making sure that they understand their , the , or like their classroom itself, not just the perimeter of the classroom, but have them go into the classroom. What's in the middle of the classroom? Uh, because different classrooms are , are set up different ways. Um, some, some classrooms are set up like centers, some are set up in rows, some are set up in groups. So it just depends on how the classroom is set up and your child may have , you know, their child may have been in a classroom , um, that was set up one way and they're going into a new setting that's going and that they're not gonna be familiar with. And if their memory is of the way their previous classroom was, they may not be able to find their way around independently from the, from the very beginning. So , um, we wanna make sure also that , um, the teacher allows the, the child to use his or her cane. And I know that sounds like, like "why, why would anybody not let their child use , you know, use the cane in the classroom?" But believe it or not, there are situations where a teacher , uh, will ask the , the child to not use their cane because the other kids might be tripping over it or, or what , or the , the student is still learning how to use it, but that's not an excuse that cane is an extension of that , of them. And they need to be able to use that cane to get around in the classroom. It could be from one learning center to another. Um, it could be from, you know, from their desk to the door , um, sometimes and , uh, teachers expect their , the students to "park their canes in their cubby." Um, if that is the case, then you wanna make sure that the child is familiar with the classroom before giving up that, that crucial tool that helps them orient themselves to the classroom and the , the desk and the chairs and the backpacks and all the things that are, that are in classrooms , um, these days. Right. Um, and, but hopefully you're , you know, advocating and making sure that you express to the teacher how important the can is for their student or for their child to use in order to , for them to be safe as well, navigating that classroom, not, not only the other children, but them themselves need to also be safe. So that's where the Orientation and Mobility Specialists can also come in , um, and help . And, and by the way, these suggestions are , um, are stuff that I know about just from being a teacher students with visual impairments, but it also comes from a book called , um, "Reach Out and Teach: Helping Your Child who is Visually Impaired Learn and Grow" by Kay Alicyn Ferrell. So a lot of these suggestions come from her book as well. Um , so it's kind of , it's backed up by, by the literature. Um, um, also if a teacher has , um, you know, centers or places in the classroom where she has the kids go like , um, a book center or library center or an art or writing center , um, ask , you know , talking to the teacher and making sure that the teacher includes some kind of a , an organizer or like a label in brail or large print, that's always in the same part of the learning center. Like for example , um, there may be a label in braille on the right corner of every table. That way it's a tactile clue. The student knows, or their child knows what , center they're going to, what they're working on. Um, it could be , um, it , it , it doesn't have to always be in braille. It could be something like , " let's say the draw drawing center might have a crayon glued to the table on that right corner." Um , a reading center might have a , a small book , um, glued to the table or placed or Velcro to the table and the top right corner. That way the student always knows where to look on on these tables to figure out where they are, what center they're in. And so that helps a lot with independence. Self-advocacy self-determination that way they can do it themselves. They don't need somebody to walk them to the different centers that may be going on , um, in the classroom. Um, but that's like elementary school and, and , and some of those things still apply also to middle and high school, but there are a few more things , um, that parents should know to help make sure that their child is prepared for middle and or high school. Um, elementary school, typically we're in one classroom . Um , the students are there, they get all their reading, writing, and math and ECC in the classroom, ECC , meaning Expanded Core Curriculum , um, like orientation and mobility. Um , that's a big one , um, to , and braille instruction. That's another big one. That's all part of the Expanded Core Curriculum , um, outside of reading, writing, and math. Um, but when we're talking about middle school and high school students start to leave the one classroom, you know, situation where they have to go to different classrooms for the different subjects that they're, that they're taking. So becoming familiar with the, with the class schedule and then taking their, taking some time to visit the school ahead of, before school starts and helping the child learn the routes or new routes to get from one class to another. Um, they could be new routes if this is the first time they've been in that middle school , um, or could be , um, just , um, um, not a , it like a review route, I guess. Um, if they're going to different classrooms from, let's say sixth grade to seventh grade , um, classroom that they hadn't been to before. So they have the basic layout of the school, but they're trying to find their new , um, their new classrooms. And so giving them that, that time in making sure that your child is prepared for middle and our high school, is that becoming familiar with those roots to get from one class to another. So asking for that time to visit before school starts is really, really helpful and will make those first days of class smoother , um, for, for their child and help foster that independence and self determination, for sure. So there's a lot of little things there <laugh> going on, but , um, but a lot of it is, you know, it , it , it's , it's front loading. It's that preparation ahead of time before you have this influx of students coming to the school and then your child is trying to orient and get, get used to where they're gonna be, or where's supposed to be where , um, so it's, it's that front loading of time, maybe a week before school starts when teachers are on campus, but the students aren't there yet. So it gives you that time to familiarize yourself with the student's teacher with , um, you know, with the, where the classroom is with where , uh, with those routes that the student may have to take within this bigger building in middle school and high school comparatively bigger than, than what they were used to at the elementary school. So those are all, some things that, that a parent can do to help prepare their child for the beginning of school.

Sara Brown:

Great. Those are some really simple things that go a long way for a student returning to the classroom. Now, what can the family do to support children as they return to school?

Olaya Landa-Vialard:

Um, so for families , um, you know, you wanna make sure that you , um, find out who your child's , um, TVI is their teacher, who their teacher or students with visual impairments is find out who their orientation and mobility specialist is. And see if you can get , uh, some time with them either by phone or , um, or, or actually asking for , um, an IEP meeting , um, before school starts and , and parents, you can do this. You can ask for an IEP meeting, even when school is not in session. Um, I, I, I used to be on a school campus as a TVI and as an educational diagnostician, and we would have meetings , um, the week or two before school started. Um, and so that is your right to do that. And in those meetings, you can make sure that your child supports are set up and ready to be deployed. So making sure that , um, their accommodations are, are ready to go , um, meaning do they have their books and braille, do they have their books in large print? Do they have access , um, not only access, but can they get and use their assistive technology devices like a CCTV , uh, a Brailer , um, a printer , um, the things that, that , uh, that other kids may not necessarily need for them to access their education, but your student, your child needs in order to access their education. At the same time that they're sighted peers are accessing their education. So meeting early and making sure that these things are ready to go on day one is really important, but also knowing who is responsible for making sure that these accommodations modifications , um, and IEPs are, are being implemented and used so that you, as a parent can be double checking, communicate. Communication is key. When you have a student who is , who has low vision, or is blind , um, and communication with the people who are responsible for implementing these accommodations and modifications and making sure that, that the , that their , that your child has access to the, the same quality education that other kids in the school who don't have, who are not blind, or who are not low vision , um, have access to. So that's one of the things you can do. One of the other really important things. I mean, everything's important, but this I think is, is , is , is exceptionally important. Um, when it comes to homework, knowing about the homework hotline for students who have low vision or blindness is really important for parents to know about , um, you know, I, we all need help with homework. Um, whether you are, whether you have a disability or not, and , um, our kids who are blind or low vision have the same needs that other kids do. Um , and I don't know about, about any of you, but I know myself, I am not a math whiz. So when my daughter has homework, when it comes to math, I have to reach out to like homework hotline, places, or reach out to friends or family who are really good at math and who can help her. Um, but for our kids with low vision and blindness, there's an actual national homework hotline out of , uh, VISTAS Education Partners and the website for the , for that service, which is a free service for , um, for students in kindergarten to 12th grade. Um, the website is http://www.vistaseducation.com/homeworkhotline/. And , um, again, it is a free service. You would , uh, you go to the website and there's a form you fill out and then they match , um, your students needs to one of the volunteers that they have, who are volunteers that come from the STEM fields that come from the English fields like English , um, literature , uh, English, grammar, and writing , um, you name it, they have volunteers that will help , um, your child with their homework. So please take advantage of that. I think that is something that we , um, you know, we don't think about at the right before school starts, but once school starts and that homework starts coming in , um, it , it , it , it , it really is helpful to know that there's help there , um, by people who are in coming from those fields where your child has homework. And sometimes the people who are , um, who are volunteering are blind as well. You have a blind chemist that , um, serves as a volunteer to help with like kids with their chemistry, homework , um, mathematicians , um, as well. So please take advantage of that. It is free. Um, and , and I mean, I can't, I can't say that enough. Um, it is homework is one of the, one of the big struggles for our kiddos. And , um, and so having this available , um, which I came out of the pandemic really , um, was the , this need became even more apparent. And that's how this was , uh, the homework hotline was developed. So please take advantage of that.

Sara Brown:

There's the Family Peer Group through the ConnectCenter. Can you talk about what that service provides?

Olaya Landa-Vialard:

Sure. So the first Wednesday of every month at , um, 7:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, we have a Family Connect group that meets , um, with the , um, in conjunction or in collaboration with the Chicago Lighthouse. And , um, there is a , um, clinical psychologist who is also part of our, of our group calls. And it really is a parent meeting. It is not a webinar. It is not a training. It is a time for parents to come and to talk about any of the issues that they might be having any of the fears. They may have any of the successes that they've had , um, experiences to share , um, uh, share information about what has worked for them or what hasn't worked for them. Um, and so it , it , it is not a , a webinar that is recorded. It is truly a safe space for parents to meet and find community. We have had parents from all over the world call in, and sometimes they just sit and listen to other parents. Sometimes they, they bring the issue that they may be having with their child or with their child's school , to the group, and then the families help each other through whatever that issue is. Um, we, as the , at the ConnectCenter , um, we do have , um, team members who attend the meeting, but we do not participate in the meeting per se, because it is a parent meeting. Um, we are there for support. And what I mean by support, if a parent brings up information, let's say which, which has happened in the past where , um, their child had been , um, had been deaf for the majority of their life. And all of a sudden they starting to lose their vision. So now their child is not only deaf, but they are deaf and blind. And so they, this has happened where they brought this up and like, you know, where do I go? What do I do? Who do I talk to? Like, is there anybody else who has a child who is deaf blind? And so we at the connect center who are there on the call are really there to be putting information in the chat for resources. So right away, we started putting information about state deafblind projects, about Helen Keller National Center , uh, about Perkins School , um, for the Blind and, and just, and on and on. And so , um, the meaning itself is, is run and led by the , by the parents who are on the call, but the team, the connect center team is just there purely for support. So we do not interrupt. We do not take over. We , you know, it is not our meeting. Um, and we have had so many parents thank us for having , um, this once a month , uh, opportunity for parents to connect with each other, because so many of them have told us that they have felt so alone. Um, they didn't know anyone else who had a child with deafblindness or a child with CHARGE Syndrome or Usher syndrome, or a child with blindness or low vision. Um, and so really it has , um, blossomed from like two people attending to sometimes 15 people attending. So it fluctuates every month. Um, we have , uh, over the summer, we've only had one meeting , um, just because over the summer, it's harder , uh, for people to, you know, to join the meetings because they've got their kids at home and, and , or are traveling, but we are getting ready to restart those again. Um, so we will have , um, the next one in, the first Wednesday in September, which would be September the 7th. Um, again, 7 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, and everyone is welcome. Please spread the word. Um, it , everyone is welcome from the United States and around the world. So , um, it , it , it has been a very beneficial , um, group meeting. Again, parents feel very safe to, to talk about whatever their issues are with the clinical psychologist there, he's also there to support the families who might be going through , um, you know, there's different stages of the grieving process. And , um, with like one that one parent in particular, who I mentioned before about , um, her child , um, basically just becoming deaf blind , you know, it , it , it's emotional. It, it is, it can be, it can be a difficult thing to talk about, but having a clinical psychologist there really helps guide those discussions and really helps , um, you know, helps the family , um, um, get through that discussion. Um, and so we're really, really excited and, and proud to be part of that , um, that group out of the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind

Sara Brown:

And how can families advocate for their child's learning needs and tools they might need?

Olaya Landa-Vialard:

So , um, the way parents want, first of all, knowing your rights, you've got to know your rights of , of , of a , as a parent of a child with a disability , um, and knowing what to advocate for in an IEP. The biggest thing in an IEP you wanna advocate for is access. If you know your rights for yourself and your child to advocate for access, to make sure that their child had their materials at the same time that their cited peers have them, there is no sense. And , and a student starting school and they not get their materials in large print or in braille for two months. That means the sighted peers are two months ahead of that student. That is something that is unacceptable. And that goes against providing what is called FAPE, which is F A P E, which is a Free Appropriate Public Education. If your child is being denied FAPE, that is a problem. And that's where you would , when you go to an IEP meeting, you advocate for FAPE always. And if you tell them that your child is being denied FAPE, they need to really, you can actually stop an IEP meeting and you can go to mediation and you can ask, talk to them about, Hey, why, why is my child's access being delayed? And how can we fix this? Right. Um, and so that's one, one of the things and , uh, to help advocate for your child's needs. Um, the other is , um, advocating for access to and use of their assisted technology accommodations and modifications, or they can't be successful. So they need to be able to use their , um, CCTV, their magnifier, their Brailer, their , um, their braille note taker, which now, you know, we have the , um, we have a , a Chameleon. Um, and then of course we have, we have different , um, types of magnifiers, like a Juno or a handheld magnifier, excuse me, magnifier , um, our , the students need to have access to that technology in their classroom. They should not be sent to another classroom, a smaller classroom that has less students in order to use that assistive technology or in order to receive their accommodations or modifications, because then that goes against, what's called the least restrictive environment. Okay. So a , a restrictive environment is an environment that is outside of the classroom of their general education peers of their peers without disabilities. So we wanna make sure that that doesn't happen, or if it has to happen that it only happens minimally. Right? So for example, if your child is still in the process of learning braille, they may go to a smaller classroom to get that braille instruction, because it's more one on one , um, because they're not gonna be in the classroom where everybody in the classroom is learning braille. Okay. So that is acceptable, but if they need to use a, a CCTV , um, or they need to use a particular kind of printer that should be in their general education classroom, it should not be in the library. It should not be in a resource room where they have to go and have access to it. Um, because again, then that that's taking them out of their , their general environment and putting them into a more restrictive environment. So I'll make sure as well as you are advocating for your child , um, by knowing your rights and knowing to advocate for their access in their classroom in so that they can receive a free, inappropriate public education, right. Receiving that FAPE, that they're also receiving that in the least restrictive environment that they're receiving it along with their cited peers to the maximum extent possible. Okay. And also knowing that, depending on what age they are , um, at the , at the age of 14, we should be starting to look at what is it that they wanna do after high school, so that we can start writing into the IEP those skills that they're gonna need in order to either pursue the job they want after high school pursue , um, a vocational degree after high school, or pursue a four-year degree after high school. So there's so many different things that we need to be thinking about from the time the child, your child turns 14 all the way to the time they graduate. You need to know what type of diploma that they are , um, that they are going to be receiving. Um, and that all, because that will determine if they're gonna go on to a college, if they're gonna go onto a vocational program, or if they're gonna graduate and get a job , um, there's just, there are different pathways for every student. So knowing that ahead of time, that at starting at 14 is when you start making these plans, because at that time is when they're gonna start making , um, the schedule of classes that your child is going to need to be taking in order to graduate with whatever type of diploma that they are , um, actually going for. So that's something that also you need to know about so that you can advocate for what it is your child needs to set them up for that success throughout school, and for when they graduate and exit and go onto whatever it is they're gonna do post high school.

Sara Brown:

And one final question to you. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Olaya Landa-Vialard:

Um, well, again, you know , I think, you know, preparing your child, I is , is important and knowing how to advocate for your child is extremely important, because if you advocate for them, they learn how to advocate for themselves. That has to be , um, something that they will be doing their entire life. So advocating for them to have that same access that their sighted peers have is one of the most important things that you can do as a parent, but also one of the most important things you can do as a role model for your child to make sure that if they need something in the classroom, that they can also speak up for that because you are modeling that for them, right. Um, so, and preparing them and letting them know, you know, what, I'm here. Um , you wanna , you wanna be available to listen when they go to school and they come back because they're gonna have issues. Every kid has issues. Um, sometimes our kids ha you know, they tend to have a few more than others, and we wanna make sure that you are there to listen and, and try to help sometimes try to help solve the problem. But other times they just want you to listen because they have something to say, what's going on at school, how they feel. And that also helps lead to them, learning how to advocate for themselves. If they know that somebody is going to be listening to them. So being prepared to listen to them, being prepared and listening too, you can also, you know, it's kind of like putting together a puzzle <laugh>, you can start figuring out, okay, the , this is where I need to jump in. This is where I can, you know, let them handle the situation. Um, because again, that will lead to more self-determination and self-advocacy skills , um, for their, for , for themselves. Um, but really taking that time before school starts to meet with the school, to know what's in your child, IEP um, I know those documents can be overwhelming, but really, and truly trying to break down and break through what is that, what it , what is it saying that my child is supposed to have? And how many minutes are they supposed to have it? And with who are they supposed to have these services, those out of all of those papers, those are the three things that I , I would love for parents to focus on. Um, so that those are the things that will help guide their advocacy for their, for their child. Um, again, there are lots and lots of pages to those IEP documents. I know I've seen them and they can be overwhelming, but looking at those, those, those last IEP pages that talk about what services they're gonna get for how long, and by who those are the three things that I would really like parents to focus on in all of those pages, because that's gonna give you that information that you need, and parents have all the power. I don't think they realize how much power they have. Parents have all the power. If you , um, are in an IEP meeting and you don't agree with , um, what has been said or what the plans are, you can disagree. And when you disagree on that last signature page and you check, no everything has to stop. The services do not stop that your child is getting, but the new, anything new that is in that IEP has to stop and they have to address your concerns. And so you have the ultimate power in these IEP meetings. So always remember that, and it is your right. This is your child to make sure it , that you agree with what's going on. And if you don't, and it's also your right to make sure that no, you don't agree and that you're not forced to agree. And you don't feel like you have to, that. You can have a say and say, wait a minute, I don't agree with this. We need to discuss this further. It's more than okay for you to do that. Um, so I think that's really, that's one of the final things I wanna leave with the families is that families have a lot more power than they think they have.

Sara Brown:

Thank you so much Olaya for joining me today on Change Makers.

Olaya Landa-Vialard:

Well , thank you for having me. I always love talking about this stuff. <laugh>

Sara Brown:

And I put a link to the IEP program Olaya just mentioned in the Show Notes. Now we're gonna take a quick look at a local Louisville event coming up in September. That's Hidden Legacies of Helen Keller: A Symposium that's gonna happen on Saturday, September 17, through Sunday, September 18. We have APH's Museum Director here, Micheal Hudson, to talk briefly about what you can expect from the two day event. Hello, Micheal, and welcome to Change Makers.

Micheal Hudson:

Thank you, Sara.

Sara Brown:

So talk about your role in this event and Helen Keller and what the event is?

Micheal Hudson:

Well, my job has been to, I'm kind of like the logistics guy . Um, we decided several years ago that to kind of, as our big announcement , uh, uh, that the American Foundation for the Blind Helen Keller Archive had arrived in Louisville. We wanted to do a history symposium and , um, originally we had scheduled it for , uh, her birthday this summer , um, in June. But if you remember back in , uh, January, as we were pulling everything together and getting our program , uh, situated the COVID was just deadly. And , uh, you know, Kentucky was in the midst of a , a big surge. And so we decided that we just weren't ready to do it in June. And so we , we postponed it until September 17 and 18 , uh, this late, late this summer. And that's really helped us a lot to , to pull, pull all our logistics together, to get all of our speakers. You know, it turns out Sara that planning one of these meetings. I have never done it before to plan a big history symposium. And so we've got 16 presenters coming in from , uh, all over the world. Uh, uh, we're bringing, and I think the farthest away is , uh, Dr. Iain Hutchison is coming in from the University of Glasgow. Um , we have somebody coming in from Canada. We have , uh, Oklahoma and Massachusetts , uh, so all over the country. Uh , and , um, and the , the, the , the idea was that, you know, the AFB Helen Keller Archive was just this amazingly rich resource, and we wanna encourage , uh, researchers. And so we needed to let you know, kind of the , the history field , um, um, blindness advocates , um, disability advocates, disability, historians know that it was, it had moved from its home in New York down here to Kentucky. Um, and that we were set up to, to , to assist researchers to, to work with the collection. So we, we started recruiting a lot of people who are doing all kinds of different topics around the life of this amazing American woman, Helen Keller . Um , and we, we were also looking at, you know, there's this thing in , in the disability community, you know, "nothing about us without us." And so we wanted to make sure that we had all kinds of voices. We had young voices, we had veteran voices , um, you know, young authors, who've just written their first book. Um , we have a couple of those. We have people who are gonna be presenting in ASL. Uh, we have one , uh, presenter , uh, Cristina Hartmann very much looking forward to her presentation, which is gonna be in pro tactile. So pro tactile is it's, uh, something that has largely come right out of the deafblind community, where a interpreter is behind, uh, Cristina , um, signing o nto her back telling her what, what is going on in the room, what she i s seeing. And then , uh, Cristina is communicating to the room using ASL, American Sign Language, and then another interpreter is speaking for her to t he, to the room. So just, just the accessibility, uh, part of this meeting is gonna be really exciting and educational. U m, you know, how people communicate, uh, historically o f course, Helen historically interpreted by doing what's called manual sign language. U m, although she did really work hard trying to teach herself to speak, but unless you, unless you were around her a lot, it was, it was hard to understand what she was saying. So she usually, she had an interpreter as well. U m, but she would, she would, uh, manually speak into, uh, Anne Sullivan or later, Polly Thompson's hand, and then they would speak for her. And then when someone would speak to Helen, they would be finger spelling into, into Helen's hands. U m, and so you know, this kind of development of the way we communicate, um, is, i s, i s just as much a part of the meeting as, um, as the, the Hidden Legacy of H elen Keller. That's the title of the, of the symposium hidden legacies.

Sara Brown:

So it's a two-day event, talk about what people can expect? You just touched on Helen Keller, talk about the fee and where the symposium will be held?

Micheal Hudson:

Sure. So , um, so we are, co-sponsoring this with the Filson Historical Society here in Louisville, they have a brand new conference center. So right now they're just really well set up to host a meeting like this. And although when we remodel our building, we will be able to host meetings like this right now we needed a partner. So we we're , the meeting is actually over at the Filson Club, or the Filson Historical Society . And , um, it's over two days. So on Saturday, September 17, there's a full range of , uh, of , uh, symposium meeting , uh, conference sessions all day long. Uh, we're gonna have lunch box lunch. And then , uh, the evening keynote , uh, speeches by Dr. Sanjay Gulati, uh , a child psychologist who works with deaf children. Um, who's , who's working on this thing called Language Deprivation. He's studying the way that the brain develops , uh, in young children when , uh, when you have a disability , uh, uh, like Helen had , uh, uh, uh, either deafness or deaf blindness. And then on Sunday , uh, we're gonna start the day out with a tour here at the American Printing House, and you're gonna get a behind the scenes tour of the new AFB Helen Keller Archive space , um, as well as our braille floor and the , and the museum, and for a lot of people that may be the last time you get to see the museum before it closes. Um, and then in the afternoon, we'll be back over at the Filson Club for the , the final session. So it's a day and a half , uh, a packed , just jam packed full of, of sessions on all aspects of Helen's life. Um, and you know, a lot of people think they know who Helen is and was because they've seen the miracle worker once, but you know, that, that, that play ends with her seven years old and she lives, you know, until 1968 travels all over the world and just does amazing things. And so we're gonna explore all that. And so, yeah, there's a , the, the registration fee. So, so the registration is, is free of charge to , uh, APH staff members and board members and members of the Filson Historical Society. And then for the general public it's $75 , uh, for the full day, two days, and then $25 for students who are enrolled, enrolled students $25.

Sara Brown:

Is there anything else you'd like to say about this event?

Micheal Hudson:

Well, I'm just really excited about the diversity of our speakers , um, and the fact that we have, you know, representatives of a lot of different communities , uh, and, you know, Helen is she , she can be sometimes is his ambivalent figure to certain , uh, communities like the deaf community , um, because she was so influenced by Dr . Alexander Graham Bell, who's this prominent oralist, oralist thought that, oh , deaf kids should be taught to read lips and should learn to speak. And in the 20th century, the deaf community really fought back against. And , uh, they, they , they fought to recover the right to use ASL , um, and to , uh, to , to control the way that they communicated. So , uh, you know, Helen is kind of an ambivalent figure to them. So it's gonna be very interesting. We're gonna have lots of scholars. Who've worked on this and from the deaf community and from the deafblind community is gonna be really , um, awesome to explore the way that Helen is seen by different communities.

Sara Brown:

All right , Michael, thank you so much for joining me today on Change Makers.

Micheal Hudson:

Thank you, Sara. We're looking forward to it .

Sara Brown:

It sounds like it's gonna be a great event. And for you out there listening, I've put a link in the show notes, so you can sign up and join in on the symposium. Now we're gonna check in with Partners with Paul. What's the latest, Paul?

Paul Ferrara:

Thanks, Sara. And welcome back to this episode of Partners with Paul. This is a special episode today for two reasons. First of all, we are back live at APH recording this today, and then second of all, Mike Wood is with us again, how you doing Mike?

Mike Wood:

Doing well, Paul, how are you?

Paul Ferrara:

For those that may not know? Mike Wood is the Strategic Accounts Manager Education with Vispero, and he's got big news for us today, right? Mike?

Mike Wood:

I do. I have really exciting news besides the fact of being here at APH , which is exciting in and of itself , uh, getting a tour of the Museum and seeing everybody live. Um, I have some exciting news to the fact that JAWS and ZoomText are now available for sale directly through the APH website. So this is exciting news. Uh , so you have JAWS student edition and ZoomText student edition available, and jaws of course, is your screen reader. And ZoomText is your screen magnifiier.

Paul Ferrara:

And who's gonna benefit most from this change?

Mike Wood:

So I find that Ex Officio Trustees , uh, and teachers that are ordering student additions of JAWS or ZoomText are gonna find this really helpful because previously you had to purchase by contacting customer service directly. Uh , now you can actually just go toph.org and go to the JAWS or ZoomText page and order a portal license right there. So if you're doing this at, you know, late at night, early in the morning before APH opens, this gives you the flexibility to just go and order it directly, right there at APH.org.

Paul Ferrara:

It's been a change. People have been asking for for a long time, a lot of work put in on everybody's part, your team, our team. And we're really happy that this has come about what about fusion? We get asked that question all the time is a fusion license gonna be next?

Mike Wood:

So fusion is definitely gonna be coming. Uh , it's a work in progress. And right now you do offer an option for fusion on your website, but it's not through the portal. And the thing that's nice with the portal is that you can manage everything directly through that portal, which allows teachers and administrators to manage multiple student licenses, whether it be at the classroom level or at the district level. And so right now you can only do JAWS or ZoomText , uh, through the portal and soon, you know, not sure when I don't have the exact timeline, but just know that it is in the works that we are gonna be adding infusion to that option at one point.

Paul Ferrara:

So it's important to know that you still can get it, but you have to go through the old way. You have to speak with customer service, but you can get Fusion.

Mike Wood:

Correct? That is absolutely correct, Paul. Yep .

Paul Ferrara:

Can you talk to us a little bit about the ordering process and what happens when somebody places an order?

Mike Wood:

Yeah. So what happens is you can go to aph.org to place an order for JAWS student edition or ZoomText student edition . After you order it, you're gonna receive an email with instructions on how to activate that license. Um, so once you get that email, the email is gonna have two links inside it . So one of those links is if you are activating the license yourself. So if you're sitting on that laptop for that student, you're logged in, you wanna activate it on that machine, you click that one link, then there's a second link that will allow you to forward that license to another person so that they can activate it on their account. So if you are the Ex Officio Trustee, and you are ordering 10 licenses , uh, you can actually send those 10 licenses to 10 separate people, and then they would be the ones to activate it. So you wanna just make sure that you read the email closely and ensure that you're activating the license on the correct account. So whether it's for you, the student, or if you're forwarding it off to maybe an it director and then the it department is going to install it on a student's laptop,

Paul Ferrara:

But it's still one order. If you wanted to order 10, you can order 10 at one time. Is that right?

Mike Wood:

Yeah . So you can multiple, you can order, excuse me, multiple licenses. Uh , and it's just nice, cuz it's all right now available through the website.

Paul Ferrara:

Perfect. And now sometimes folks are gonna need to know how to use the software that they ordered. Can you talk a little about some training options that are available?

Mike Wood:

Goodness. Yes . So over the last few years, there's so much training. APH has done a fantastic job about having training available as well as us directly. So one of the links I wanna share is FreedomScientific.com/teachers. And if you go to that link , uh, it's really neat because there's actually teacher training modules available on there that will walk you through. So if you're new to JAWS , uh, you wanna , you know, learn how to use. It might be a little terrifying at first, right? But this allows you to take it bit by bit step by step through these training modules, which is fantastic. Uh , there's so much information available there , um, for new users and old users as well. So if you want to use or learn how to use JAWS with say ZoomText, or JAWS with teams, or you name it Google, you can go on there and find resources on how to do that.

Paul Ferrara:

Yeah . JAWS user myself. I can tell you that all that material is fantastic stuff. It's been great having to hear Mike, thanks for joining us and Louisville very much. Appreciate it.

Mike Wood:

Hey, I've very much enjoyed it, Paul. Thank you. And one last thing I do wanna say is if you have students that you're working with, definitely go on a FreedomScientific.com and go to Student of the Month. So FreedomScientific.com/studentofthemonth. And if they're using our technology, you can enter them for this program. And I just love this program because it gets the, you know, kiddos excited. They get a $500 Amazon gift card if they're selected. And so I wanna definitely make sure I, you know, share that information, but again, this has been a pleasure. It's so good to see you live and in person Paul and I can't thank you enough.

Paul Ferrara:

And they get a computer too. Don't they get computers for the blind?

Mike Wood:

They can. Yeah . So that's a separate, another great program Computers for the Blind. Fantastic. Um, they can sign up for that program and they can get an absolute free computer with the software already. Pre-installed on it for a one year license. And then from there they can, you know, work through APH to get a license moving forward.

Paul Ferrara:

Well, this has been great. And uh , wanna also mention real quick in the show notes, we've included the link to the blog post that we put out. And in that blog post, you have the link to the ZoomText page, the JAWS page and the training. So everything we've talked about is covered in that one blog post, and that's gonna be found in the show notes. And , uh, so everything should be answered. If you have any more questions. cs@aph.org is also a great place to send an email and get those questions answered. Thanks again, Mike, and back to you, Sara.

Sara Brown:

Thanks so much, Paul. And thank you for listening to this episode of Change Makers. I've put links to the ConnectCenter, the IEP program Olaya mentioned, how to sign up for Hidden Legacies of Helen Keller: a Symposium and the blog post. Paul just mentioned as always be sure to look for ways you can be a change maker this week.